8.16.2005

One Ring to Rule them All....

My wife's family has stayed in a tiny little cabin on the eastern side of Newfound Lake, New Hampshire for over 30 years. They don't own the cabin (called "Kef Yali"--which means something like "Hey, all you Indians! Let's get stoned!") but it is on long, long term loan from the camp at which B's dad has worked for over 50 years. Kef Yali is right on the water. You walk down 30 or so steps to a very rickety dock that holds a canoe. A little tiny two-person sailboat is off a few feet to the left, tied to a tree. B decided that we should do some sailing in that thing last Thursday. I was excited at first. She's some sort of expert sailer--she even has a sailing license--but over the 6 years we've been married, it's not a talent I've seen her exhibit. So we put the sails and the masts together (it's that small) and we launched ourselves out into the lake. It was gusty and we were going much, much faster than we'd prepared to go. B thought it was great. She put me in charge of the rope that controls how much wind the sail will catch and told me to pull it really, really tight so that we'd jump over the waves. Yes, there were waves on the lake. I began to get nervous. Newfound Lake is only 1 mile wide at its narrowest point, but it's 9 miles long. And it's tucked between pretty large mountains, so rivers dump water into the lake from all directions. Very cold water. Water that was snow about 10 minutes ago. And it stays cold because the lake is over 200 feet deep way out in the middle. The middle was the direction B was aiming us (she had the rudder). At some point during our trip, I forgot about being scared and just had fun. But then we had to turn around and go back toward the little cabin, which now looked exactly like all the trees that surround it. I couldn't find it no matter how hard I looked at the shore. B wasn't worried since she knew where she was going, but I started to tense up. That was bad. We turned around pretty quickly; the boom swung by quickly, skimming my head. And our tiny little boat lurched from one side to the other. I went from sitting pretty much straight up and down to looking down over my feet. Okay, it wasn't that dramatic, but I thought I might fall out. So I leaned backwards the opposite direction. I know what you're thinking--E fell out of the boat. But I didn't. I let out the sail and we slowed down and we got back to level. But when we first pitched to the right, I reached back behind me to pull myself to the left of the boat. In so doing, I caught my wedding ring on the outside edge of the hull. When I went to straighten myself, I heard the unmistakable sound of soft gold sliding against steel and aluminum. The last thing I saw was a yellow, shining flash of gold arcing through the air and into the deep water about five feet away. B saw it only out of the corner of her eye and moved to jump in after it. But then she thought again--the boat would have capsized for sure and likely the rudder and even a number of the other crucial boat components necessary to get us the half mile back to shore would have followed the ring to the bottom of Newfound Lake. I am very sad. It was not just any wedding ring. We had it carved to look like the Celtic knot pattern on this page of the Lindisfarne Gospels, 7th century versions of the gospels that have always been special to me--illustrating the creativity and committment that Christians should bring to every aspect of our lives, from the holiest manuscript writing to the most mundane days of marriage. I know that it was just a thing...just stuff...but it means something just the same. Funny enough, my mother-in-law's wedding ring resides at the bottom of the same lake. She lost hers before B was born, I think. At least we made it back in one piece.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

e

so sorry to hear the ending. i was hooing for a capsizing of the boat, being swallowed by a whale only to be regurgitated 3 days later.
i all seriousness, i do feel for you. your ring and the story will now be part of a living legend.

glad that you and b are ok and had a great vacation. never knew b was the expert sailer. dont know where she could practice it in central ohio, but i bet lake michigan would be great

looking forward to talking to you

matt

8/17/2005 7:07 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

Oh, guys, I am so sorry about the ring. Really. It sucks to lose something with that much personal value.

*Big sigh.*

On the bright side, perhaps some small hobbit will find it, become obsessed with its strange powers and you will, in a roundabout sort of way, end up helping to defeat all evil and usher in a kingdom of justice that will rule to the ends of middle earth.

Or not. At any rate, I'm so sorry.

8/17/2005 2:47 PM  
Blogger Joshua said...

i'm right there with you, e. a wedding ring is a sacred object. of course, you'll always know exactly where it is...

8/19/2005 11:25 AM  

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